Sometimes the things we think should be the most pleasant become the worst things to experience. Take, for example, the holidays. They are expensive, they are stressful, and they are not as fun as we would like them to be.
Our stress can transfer to every facet of our life. When a person has to buy gifts, fancy food, cook, clean, and make room for visiting family and friends the last thing they want to hear is ‘calm down’. Instead what they would rather have is someone say ‘What can I do to help?’
Keeping this in mind, if you are the visiting loved one, do everything you can as a guest to accommodate your hosts. You are probably taking little Jimmy’s bedroom and he will be displaced to the couch or worse–the garage, and you will not be the favorite Aunt after that.
Keep your own intrusion into the family space to a minimum. They will appreciate it and you will once again become that favorite Aunt. Consider staying in a motel, or you choose the couch–offering to in order that Jimmy can keep his toys in place.
Think about either cooking breakfast for the family or earn your keep some other way. By driving hundreds of miles you are not inconveniencing yourself as much as you are doing so to your family. If you do a kind gesture for them they will be happier to have you stay a few days more.
If you notice that the hosts are running out of something like milk or eggs, find out where the local store is and buy those missing ingredients. It is a good idea to let them know how much you appreciate their hospitality.
You are not only taking up space and eating their food, you are also capitalizing on the time of those you are visiting. Watching television or sitting around the kitchen table are welcoming, to be sure, but you have to realize that if a person in the household has homework, or chores, then their time should be their own. You can help out by doing some dishes, picking up the bathroom floor, or vacuuming the carpet. Anything you can do to help out will give you and your host family time to visit more without compromising their time.
When You Leave
When you leave, make sure you thank your hosts. After all, you may have spent a lot of time driving, but their entire household was disrupted while you were there. It is important to leave them wanting more, just like the magician at the local Bijou Theater.
Clean up after yourself and be sure to invite them to your home for a visit. You are all family, and everyone wants to feel welcome, even if they are not in their own home, or even state!